Sunday, June 21, 2015

RANDOM THOUGHTS #9 - FELONIOUS PARENTING, RACHEL DOLEZAL, OBAMACARE

FELONIOUS PARENTING
I recently read a news story that left me dumbfounded. It seems that an 11-year-old Florida boy came home to a locked house, didn't have a key, and so he spent an hour and a half shooting hoops in the back yard while he waited for his folks. No big deal, right?

Wrong.

A neighbor called police. When the parents arrived, having been delayed on their return from work by traffic, they were arrested for felony neglect. Cuffed and strip searched. As I understand it, the boy and his younger brother (who was in proper day care) were removed from the home in favor of a relative who quickly asked the state to take over their care. The two boys would have ended up in foster care had the eldest not asked to see the judge and begged to be sent back home. The boys were then only allowed back with their parents under strict guidelines.

My parents were felons. I never knew.

There were even aggravating circumstances in my case. My parents let me drink water straight from the garden hose. For years, I walked a quarter-mile by myself to my school bus stop. And after school, if I wanted to go into town to visit friends, I had to walk a mile, part way along a state highway. In fact, the only rules that I can remember regarding after-school and summer playtime was that I "be safe" and make it home in time for dinner. Often, my parents didn't know where I was and who I was with.

My parents were felons. I never knew.

RACHEL DOLEZAL
Makes me crazy. She's black if she says that she is? Really, Whoopi? Really?

I'm sorry, but facts is facts. Snoop is black. Eminem is white. That doesn't say anything about their music or their audience. But two plus two equals four and not some number approximating four.

There may very well come a day when the preponderance of the population is so racially diverse that it would be well nigh impossible to assign such rigid categories as we do today. Indeed, having worked in an agency that collected demographics on thousands of heads of households over many years, I can attest to the fact that the category 'Mixed Race' has grown from a side note to nearly a plurality. But until we are all the color of coffee (light with two sugars, please), there's reality and there's fantasy. Let's not elevate someone whose reality is as confused as Dolezal's to the level of a game changer.

OBAMACARE
I expect that I will be writing more about healthcare after the Supreme Court publishes its decision on the legality of subsidizing the federal exchanges. But there's one thing that's been simmering among some folks that I know that needs to be addressed - the cost of insurance under Obamacare. Many of my friends oppose Obamacare based on those increased costs. I have three quick comments.

First, prior to Obamacare, healthcare costs in the US were increasing at double-digit percentage rates year after year. Healthcare inflation was a primary driver in increases in the cost of living. How quickly we forget.

Secondly, increases in cost to folks already insured was inevitable given the increased numbers of newly insured, particularly since people with pre-existing conditions could no longer be denied coverage. There were simply not enough young, healthy, and uninsured new signups to keep rates low.

Finally, if you want to address the cost of health insurance, it's time that we addressed the cost of healthcare. Why do we spend twice as much per capita on healthcare in the US than they do in just about every other modern industrialized economy? And having done so, why are our outcomes so far down the list? For a country that is supposed to be a meritocracy, why do we tolerate higher infant mortality rates, higher child mortality rates, and lower life expectancies than our European cousins?

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